Girl in a Mercedes

A girl is driving a Mercedes. Or maybe she is just sitting on a driver's seat. She owns this car, or maybe the car is her mother's and she is just flossing.

  1. If I refer to her as "a girl in a Mercedes", then there will be no meaning of driving and/or possession. Maybe she is just sitting on the passenger's seat.
  2. If I refer to her as "a girl with a Mercedes", then there will be no meaning of being inside of the car. Maybe she is just staying near the car.

When referring to this girl, in Russian we usually say "девушка на Мерседесе" (girl on a Mercedes). Saying that we don't mean "a girl on top of a Mercedes". We mean "a girl who is driving a Mercedes", or "a girl who is sitting on a driver's seat or looking out the driver's window". It also has some connotations of possession and demonstration (of the car).

But what's with American English? What preposition would be more appropriate for this exact situation? Is there any equivalent for the Russian "девушка на Мерседесе"?

I need to refer to her in a sentence like:

There were a lot of racers. A girl (in/on/at) a Mercedes SLK250. A guy (in/on/at) a Honda S2000...

Which preposition do American English speakers use — in, at, on?

In Russian, I can also say "девушка в Мерседесе" (girl in a Mercedes). All these Russian sentences are correct and all these sentences mean that the girl is inside the Mercedes. I wonder if it's the same in American English.

  • Why are downvotes? Please explain. Why don't just answer the question?
    – ezpresso
    Oct 22, 2017 at 12:13
  • Hello, ezpresso. If you read the advice given at the Help Center on what constitutes a suitable question on ELU, you would, I hope, realise that this doesn't meet them. There are many websites aimed at helping people with basic English questions (ELL is one, but also requires research), but ELU is aimed at linguists. Oct 22, 2017 at 12:31
  • @EdwinAshworth, I wrote in the Update to the question, that some languages, like Russian, do allow alternative usage of prepositions for this kind of sentences.
    – ezpresso
    Oct 22, 2017 at 12:40
  • Looks like a bitchin' car... ;-)
    – Jim
    Oct 22, 2017 at 20:42
  • @Jim, oh, now I see why she is attracting a bunch of downvoters.
    – ezpresso
    Oct 22, 2017 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


I'm from the UK, not the US, but the rule in English would be "in" a car, but "on" a motorcycle.

You could have the girl "on" the car, but this implies being on the outside eg. lying/sitting on the bonnet or hood.

  • 1
    Hello, Jim. I'm sure @Reg Dwight won't mind my pinching a quote of his here: '[W]e write stuff in comments that is too obvious to qualify for an answer. [This] is not really a topic for a site for linguists and etymologists, and we don't want it to become a topic.' – Answering such questions sends out the wrong message to the user base. Oct 22, 2017 at 12:28
  • 1
    OK, thanks Edwin. Seems unnecessarily restrictive, if someone needs help. However, thanks for explaining that.
    – user263054
    Oct 22, 2017 at 12:59
  • 1
    'Unnecessarily restrictive, if someone needs help.' No; ELU has certain requirements. There are plenty of other websites where people can readily get help with basic questions. It's the people who demand that all websites have to conform to the same pattern that are unnecessarily restrictive. As a comparison, should university language departments be expected to offer basic spelling courses? Oct 22, 2017 at 14:22
  • 2
    "at the wheel of a Mercedes" is another possibility. Doesn't look to me like she's actually driving.
    – Xanne
    Oct 22, 2017 at 19:14
  • @EdwinAshworth, 'too obvious to qualify for an answer'. There are many things in English that seem 'too obvious', but in fact these are not. For instance, the sentence like “My love don't cost a thing” is obviously incorrect. Or it is correct?! That's the name of the song by Jennifer Lopez. Many Russians say "с Москвы" (instead of "из Москвы"). It is grammatically incorrect, but many people use it. There are slangs, dialects and different accents... How can I be sure it is obvious, when it sure can be not?!
    – ezpresso
    Oct 22, 2017 at 20:27

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.